In the last quarter of 2003, the situation in Iraq worsened as combat deaths and sectarian violence increased significantly, prompting several proponents of the war to reconsider their position in the face of impending defeat. Although President Bush has not specified an exit strategy, he did agree to the creation of the Baker Commission, which is in favor of the withdrawal of troops from the Middle East and negotiating with Syria and Iran. He also appointed Robert Gates, a known realist, to replace Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense. No matter what happens in Iraq, the general principles underlying the Bush Doctrine remain valid and should serve as a guide for the US in crafting a foreign policy that is consistent with American ideals and is geared toward ensuring the security of the free world.
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